Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression. Ginsberg is best known for his epic poem “Howl,” in which he denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. In 1957, “Howl” attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial for depicting heterosexual and homosexual sex. Ginsberg was a practicing Buddhist who studied Eastern religious disciplines extensively. He took part in decades of nonviolent political protest against everything from the Vietnam War to the War on Drugs. Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926 and died on April 5, 1997.